ListN Up Playlist: Daijana Wallace (December 21, 2023)

ListN Up is a series of artist-curated playlists that offer an intimate sonic portrait of contemporary artists by showcasing the diverse and stylistically varied music that influences their creative practice.

Daijana Wallace is a composer and educator currently based in Wichita, KS. Her music draws inspiration from anything and everywhere, from mundane daily tasks to trying to figure out if she really is into minimalism. When she’s not composing and teaching, she enjoys watching anime, taking photos of her pets, and trying out new recipes. Daijana is pronounced Day-on-a, like spending a day-on-a beach.

Hi everyone! My name is Daijana Wallace and I’m a composer and cellist based in the Wichita, KS area. I’m so excited to share this playlist with you all. I’ve subtitled it “recollections and reflections.” The “recollections” aspect of this playlist has to do with my time and prominent memories as a musician: memories from my childhood, from my undergraduate studies, and even memories that I made this summer. The “reflections” aspect of this playlist has to deal with how I process and channel my emotions. Some of these pieces have helped me get through sadness, some of these pieces are how I channel my high energy and my happiness, and sort of everything in between. Thank you so much for letting me take you on this journey, and thank you so much for taking the time to listen.

“Fifth Laboratory” by Akira Senju, performed by the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus

(small weeb alert) — There have been few anime soundtracks that have captured my attention more than Akira Senju and the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus’ work on Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. Fifth Laboratory is a good representation of what I think makes a soundtrack effective: it transports me visually and emotionally to the scene. Senju’s broody orchestration that gains intensity and sharpness through metric and instrumental layering never fails to make me recall the scenes and associated emotions this track is a part of.

Fratres by Arvo Pärt, performed by Anne Akiko Meyers

Within all of the variations, Pärt weaves in a variety of characters and raw emotions in a really simple framework that never fails to pull on my heartstrings. I am particularly fond of violinist Anne Akiko Meyers’ interpretation of Fratres. Her recording is gentle and delicate, heart wrenching and heavy, and everything in between.

Only the Words Mean What They Say by Kate Soper, performed by Kate Soper and Erin Lesser

From the first time I heard this piece in 2018 (when I was still very much a baby composer) to now, I’m still in awe of this piece by Kate Soper. The grittiness, the drama, the interplay of the performers, and musical gestures themselves highlight the equally gritty, dynamic, and hauntingly realistic text by Lydia Davis.

TW: Implied verbal abuse

Blueprint by Caroline Shaw, performed by Aizuri Quartet

This piece is one of my favorites as a listener and a performer. Shaw’s use of timbre, texture, ensemble, and form, as well as her sense of pacing are the reasons I keep coming back for more. I often look to this piece, especially when I’m personally working on chamber music of my own, as it allows me to gain something new each time I listen.

“Take My Life (Lacrimosa),” performed by Isaac Cates and Ordained

So much of my thoughts on music are informed by my time singing in gospel choirs growing up, and Cates’ piece takes me right down memory lane. The synergy and interplay of the voice parts, the diction, the sound of the choir itself, how the ensemble leads together, and even Cates’ own style of piano playing really remind me of how I came to love and engage with music.

“Mayeya,” performed by Cándido

I was first introduced to this chart at Bang on a Can Summerfest when David Oquendo was leading the fellows Latin Band. This chart captured me from the beginning to the end, with its dreamy opening to its dance-inducing grooves. While our arrangement is quite different from his recording, I’m taken back to that summer at MASS MoCA: the energy, the dancing crowd, my peers absolutely shredding, and me enjoying the atmosphere.

“Lingus (We Like It Here)” by Snarky Puppy

A chart that makes me move, groove, love 5/4 more than I already do, and causes me to make one or five stank faces throughout the chart every time I take a listen. The extra cherry on top is Cory Henry’s keys solo that melts my brain time after time.


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